Human technology

A former NASA astronaut’s perspective on what’s next for space exploration

As the world of aerospace continues to expand to include private companies that are now able to send people into orbit, space technology can help life on Earth. The advancement of space and medical technology is something that orthopedic surgeon, oncologist, chemical engineer and astronaut, Robert Satcher knows firsthand.

“A lot of the imaging technology that we use on cancer patients: MRIs, CT scans owe some of that technology to what was developed at NASA,” Satcher said during a conversation with Nicole Ellis of PBS NewsHour. From modern airplanes to cell phones and video chat services like Zoom and Skype that have become substitutes for human connection during a global pandemic, the solutions originally sought to make interplanetary travel and communication possible have become an integral part of life. daily, Satcher said.

Watch Robert Satcher’s interview in the live player above.

The aerospace industry has become more commercially accessible in the years since Satcher’s space mission to space in 2009. Non-astronauts can now tour space on board private and operated spacecraft through companies such as SpaceX and Blue Origin. “It’s a good time to be a human being because, you know, these things are starting to open up and everyone’s going to be able to, or at least more people are going to be able to see what it’s like to be in space,” Satcher said.

Although companies like SpaceX are focused on building human settlements on Mars, our journey to becoming a multiplanetary species is still in its infancy. Scientists are still figuring out how to make the 3-year trip viable. However, one of the most important developments in commercial space exploration is affordability by creating reusable spacecraft.

Another crucial part of development over the years has been the diversification of the aerospace field, although still slow, Satcher said having people of different occupations, genders, ethnicities and backgrounds will be a critical part of making our galaxy more accessible to humans. “No one group has a monopoly on perspective or ability, so you need to get all of these different perspectives and everything to really maximize what you get in terms of development, research, and technical advancement,” a- he declared.